US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, outlined a set of measures that the Americans intend to implement against Tehran. Experts call them “the most stringent in the history of sanctions.” At the same time, Pompeo clarified that “the US strategy on Iran will henceforth be implemented outside the framework of the nuclear agreement of 2015,” stressed the need for a new “nuclear deal” with Tehran, but for this, “12 conditions of the USA must be met.”
According to the Secretary of State, “Iran has the right to defend its people, but not actions that are dangerous for citizens of other countries of the world.” In the Voice of America statement, the claims are as follows: under any new agreement, Tehran must terminate the development of nuclear weapons indefinitely, refusing to enrich uranium and never attempting to enrich plutonium, and grant UN inspectors access to nuclear facilities throughout the country. Iran should also stop the proliferation of ballistic missiles and “destabilizing activities” in the Middle East. In addition, to release all citizens of the United States and countries that are partners and allies of the United States.
Pompeo demanded that Tehran cease supporting armed groups in the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Palestinian Hamas group, the Huti rebels in Yemen and the Taliban in Afghanistan. If Iran does not change course, Washington will have unprecedented financial pressure on it. At the same time, the Secretary of State noted that the implementation of this plan “will be held in close cooperation with the Pentagon and the US regional allies in order to deter Iranian aggression.” Immediately we note that these conditions resemble the ultimatum, which borders on the announcement by the Americans of the fighting on all fronts to Tehran. This is the first.
The second is as follows. The pact of requirements / conditions is so comprehensive that their implementation, as the president of the National Iran-American Council, Trita Parsi, rightly observes, is “unrealistic”, and the strategy proposed by Pompeo is aimed at “failure rather than success: it is a recipe for war, and not negotiations “. We will immediately note the principled position – the intention to implement the announced plan in close cooperation with the Pentagon (military scenario, – ST) and regional allies (diplomatic scenario, – ST). Such concretization excludes the involvement of other participants in the “nuclear deal” by the Americans, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (SWDP): Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
In our opinion, the chronological coincidence of the announcement of the Pompeo plan and the intention of the European Commission to use the previously unused “blocking order” of 1996, unlawful for European companies to carry out US sanctions against Iran, can hardly be considered as coincidental. “If it becomes necessary, we are ready,” said European Commissioner for Internal Affairs and Migration Affairs Dimitris Avramopulos. Nevertheless, it is obvious that Washington on the Iranian direction is able to launch a war of sanctions against Europe. And not only against it. Companies – violators of the sanctions regime may be fined if they work in the US market. In fact, firms are faced with the choice of which market, American or Iranian, they prefer. Several European giants have already left Iran, in particular the French oil company Total and the energy Engie. So the question remains open about the EU’s ability to block the negative effect of US sanctions to complicate Washington’s economic pressure on Iran and the EU.
This is still played by Tehran, stating that if the European participants in the “nuclear deal” do not fulfill its terms for the development of trade and economic cooperation, then Iran will take a “forced decision”, that is, it will resume its nuclear program. This is one side of the American operation “Pliers”. The second concerns the connection to the operation of the US regional allies. This is mainly about Saudi Arabia and Israel, which are the most ardent opponents of the “Iranian deal”. At the same time, Riyadh and Tel Aviv are involved in various forms of conflict in the Middle East. Israel, with the exception of the process of the Palestinian settlement, acts on other directions while indirectly.
However, the recognition by the Americans of Jerusalem of the capital of Israel and the transfer of embassies there reduce the possibilities of Saudi Arabia for geopolitical maneuver in the campaign against Iran’s “nuclear and other threats”. Therefore, the new conditions of Washington increase the risk of a great war in the Middle East. But not between the US and Iran, but between Iran and Israel. And this is now, since by all indications, Washington is launching a long-term scenario in the Middle East, when the combination and balance of forces in the region will change along the way. The US game sooner or later will force the Middle Eastern countries, and after them the Transcaucasia, especially Azerbaijan, make a choice.
Also Russia and China contemplate, trying to guess the ultimate goal of the game. It can consist in reviewing the terms of the nuclear deal with Tehran, and then US President Donald Trump will say that he agreed and reached new agreements. But in response to Washington’s demands, Iranian President Hassan Ruhani says that “the era of rhetoric of threats is finally a thing of the past.” He appeals to the Americans: “Who are you to make decisions for Tehran and the whole world? Today, the world does not accept that the US is making decisions for it. Countries have independence.” According to Ruhani, “the world community will not allow the United States to make prescriptions for the rest of the world.” And he noted that Iran will not leave Syria.
Tehran’s reaction is understandable and predictable. But this is only the first negative emotional reaction. Everything is ahead, because Washington demanded that Iran change the fundamental foundations of its regional policy. The risks of a great war in the Middle East are increasing noticeably.